A weekend full of art openings just past (the Edinburgh festival season is upon us), the highlight certainly being getting to see the latest installment of Alastair Cook‘s MALIN film and soundtrack project on Thursday night. After encountering him supporting Christ. and Christian Kleine last year, I’ve been following his work keenly. If February’s MALIN II show (alongside Erstlaub) suggested something special, this third installment delivered it.

MALIN III debuted as part of the Is This A Test? evening at Edinburgh’s last bastion of experimental music, the wonderful Roxy Art House. This outing was featured as part of the opening night of his photography exhibition The Land and the Sea, alongside some short film-poems which have graced these pages before.

His photography is almost abstract in its explicit simplicity. A healthy obsession with the horizon, that unwavering score through heaven and earth. The heavy horizons give the images an eerie intensity; a vigorous clarity clearing way for deep introspection.

This subjectivity carries through to MALIN III, clearly a heavily personal piece of work. Unlike previous MALIN performances, III is a collaboration with cellist Luca Nasciuti. His heaving, familiar chords wove deftly through the opaque mist of electronics. Projected images flick past; blurred glimpses of holiday videos, heavy exposure on the film obscuring the finer details of the characters, further enforcing a feeling of separation and distance.

The film and accompanying soundtrack is split into 7 sections, each starting with a gentle refrain of static and drone. I would have liked to hear the electronics develop further, to allow the listener a chance to explore the nooks of sound-space being exposed, but each time the tone of the cello cut purposefully in. Nasciuti is a talented musician, working beautifully within the dimensions of the audio landscape. The timbre of the cello offered an assured presence within its more fragile fabric, but still full of the atmosphere of loss and separation that dominated the piece.

The dislocated atmosphere reminded me in parts of BJ Nilsen’s incredible The Invisible City , and whilst it never built into the level of intensity that Nilsen is capable of (and I’m still to discover anyone else who can), it is a compelling piece of work. MALIN III completes the proposed trio of films, but certainly I hope to hear further developments from Mr. Cook.

The Land And The Sea continues at The Drill Hall until Aug 14.

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